What Are Behavioral Objectives? Part 5 of 5: Why This System Works



This is the fifth article in a five part series about Behavioral Objectives. The articles in order of publication are:

  1. Behavioral Objectives; An Overview
  2. The Scope and Sequence Chart
  3. Gantt Charts for Progress Planning
  4. Setting Standards of Achievement or Fluency
  5. Why This Component Works

The system of behavioural objectives built into the Maloney Method works because it provides the instructor and the student with several ways in which to see the entire course and to track the student’s progress or the lack of it.

The Scope and Sequence Chart

  • creates a panorama of the work to be covered.
  • It then breaks the body of work into a specific number of lessons and
  • puts in place an outline of what each lesson contains as a set of tasks to be completed.

The Gantt Chart

  • tracks the progress of the student through the lessons,
  • determines the number of lessons the student can complete on a daily basis.
  • uses that information to approximate the number of lessons completed in a month
  • compares the observed number of lessons to what was expected and adjusts as needed.
  • makes predictions about when the course will be completed and when the student will be ready for the next course in that curriculum

The Fluency Checks

  • provide a measure of the pace and quality of the student’s performance on a specific task (e.g. applying a spelling rule)
  • provide a new fluency checks after each block of five lessons.
  • Include all the new material introduced in the previous five lessons plus a random sample of previously taught material.
  • compares the student’s current performance to previous attempts and to a set of known frequency standards.
  • gives feedback for decisions on what to do next, ( e.g. additional instruction, practice, review, introduce new material, etc.)


With these three tools, the instructor and the student have a clear vision of the entire course of study, the components to be learned, and the standards to which they must be mastered.

The Maloney Method has been crafted so that:

  • every curriculum has a specific number of levels. Our reading decoding system has four levels, each covering 2 grade levels.
  • every level has a specific number of lessons. In the reading decoding programs, each level has a total of 60 lessons. In all 4 levels, there are 240 lessons.
  • each area of curriculum has a specific set of measures as fluency checks. In the reading series, we measure sounds and sound combinations, words in lists and passages to be read orally.
  • each fluency check has a set standard to be attained by any student (e.g. 60-80 words per minute with 2 or fewer errors in reading lists of words already taught in the lessons).

Programs which do not have readily identifiable lessons, or numerous lessons subsumed as chapters can still be organized to use these tools. You will need to take the time and effort to do that analysis, creating your own scope and sequence chart and dividing the material into lessons for your Gantt chart predictions.

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